The story of Jennifer Bricker is one of the most amazing ones we have have ever featured on IMK! It is full of both great life lessons and great surprises. It is a story everyone should know.
Jennifer was born in Romania without any legs. She was later adopted by a loving American family, the Bricker’s, and raised in the small town of Hardinville, Illinois.
Although she was born with out legs, she and her family never let this stop her from achieving her dreams. Her parents gave her one simple rule, “Never say can’t”!. They helped her live a life of triumph, not tragedy.
The Brickers raised her just like they their other three sons. She was taught to never view her disability as a disadvantage. So, she grew up playing many sports, including volleyball, softball and basketball.
But it was gymnastics that was her true passion! She idolized Olympic gold medalist Dominque Moceanu. She would would watch her on TV while practicing tumbling on the trampoline with her dad.
As she grew older, Jen began competing against typical athletes in gynmasitcs competitions around Illinois. Not only did she compete, but she even went on to become a State Champion in power tumbling! And she participated in the Junior Olympics! Jen and her family always believed she could do whatever she wanted to. Her positive attitude, hard work and perseverance made this a reality.
If her story was not amazing enough already, when Jen was 16, she discovered the most incredible news of her life. She learned that her idol, the gymnast Dominque Moceanu, was actually her biological sister! Now, Jen tours the country as an aerialist, acrobat and inspirational speaker. Watch her incredible story here:
- Check out Jen’s website where you can learn about her new book and her story
- Watch other great IMK stories about children and adults that exhibit perseverance or who have special needs
- Read IMK’s list of great quotes for kids about the importance of hard work and doing your best
- Learn about the history of gymnastics here on Wikipedia
- Learn more about Jen’s sister, Olympic Gold Medalist, Dominque Moceanu
Topics for Discussion:
- How would you describe Jennifer’s attitude and what role has it played in her life?
- Do you think of Jennifer as having a disability?
- What is one lesson you can learn and apply in your own life from Jennifer?
- Think about a big goal that you have. It could be for school, for family, or any other important area of your life. Write it down, using this goal worksheet or create your own worksheet. Keep track of your progress, stick with it and reward yourself when you have completed it. Keep doing this and you will be surprised at how much you can achieve.
- Consider holding a fundraiser to support the International Child Amputee Network